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See the planets at Observatory open house

April 3, 2012
KOKOMO, Ind. – Stargazers can get a closer look at four planets on Sunday, April 8, when the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory hosts its monthly open house, from 8 to 11 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, said Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Venus are all up in the early evening sky, and the moon is not expected to rise until later. He said there should be plenty for stargazers to see during the open house, weather permitting.

Motl will begin the evening at 8 p.m. with a brief talk on epsilon Aurigae, a multiple star system "where a binary pair orbits and interacts with a third, supergiant star."

Amateur and professional astronomers observed epsilon Aurigae from 2009 to 2011, and he will summarize what they learned about the state system.

The Observatory at IU Kokomo features two telescopes mounted together – a six-inch Takahashi refracting telescope and a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope. The Takahashi provides exceptionally sharp images of planets, while the Meade lets stargazers see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light collecting area.

The Kokomo Astronomy Club will also be present on Sunday to set up their own personal telescopes, which will allow for a variety of views.

The Observatory, 105 E. Rebecca Lane, opens its doors to the Kokomo community on the second Sunday of each month. The next open house is scheduled for May 13. Free parking is available.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 08/14/2014